At a public hearing Dec. 1, the feelings of Brandywine activist Charles Snyder about Prince George's County's lucrative sand and gravel industry were made crystal clear:
"People in general are disgusted with the way the decks are stacked against them by the county fathers and the gravel barons," Snyder wrote in a statement read by a neighbor. "The impact of the gravel industry can by covered by the five Ds: 'din, destruction, danger, dirt and density.' "
In the face of complaints about one of the county's major industries, the Prince George's County Council last fall appointed a citizens task force to review gravel industry regulations and enforcement efforts.
That group recently recommended that the county:
* Establish a permanent sand and gravel commission to improve communication between the industry and the public and to help investigate citizen complaints.
* Review enforcement efforts.
* Move toward changing the formula for land reclamation funds to better meet the county's needs. The task force said that $600,000 in state funding for reclamation can be used only for public land, but some of the county's oldest and worst sites are still in private hands.
* Require more extensive "screening" or landscaping between residential areas and sand and gravel operations and push for legislation to require that trucks carrying sand and gravel be covered.
* Change county law to permit council members to conduct inspections of sand and gravel facilities before considering zoning applications for expansion or other modification.
Task force chairman John Becher emphasized the need for a balance between citizen and industry concerns.
With 48 active operations, Prince George's is the leading producer of sand and gravel in the state; 3.1 million tons worth a total of $3.1 million were mined in 1981, he said.
Becher said that although many citizen complaints are justified, particularly in the southern end of the county, "what many of these rabble-rousers don't realize is that industry people are willing to bend over backwards to do their share to protect the community."